In addition to the obvious fear that such hacks promote disordered eating habits, using laxatives for weight loss comes with both short-term and long-term risks, according to registered nutritionist Anna Mapson (via Healthline). Dehydration, stomach cramps, diarrhea, excessive gas, loss of electrolytes, and tiredness are some of the short-term effects of laxatives. Dizziness, headaches, and dry mouth are other side effects.
Laxatives make you skip an important part of the digestive process, according to Mapson, where fluids and electrolytes are reabsorbed from the contents of our large intestine. “During this phase, our body is trying to recycle as many nutrients as possible before we pass the bits we don’t need out of the body,” explained the nutritionist, adding that skipping this process could cause dehydration or too much electrolyte loss.
Taking laxatives for purposes other than what they’re intended for can lead to nutritional deficiencies and related health concerns in the long run, per Dr. Steven Batash (via Essence). Not getting enough potassium, magnesium, and sodium can lead to kidney troubles and heart issues, and improper laxative use can put stress on your gut and liver too. Even if you were to go the route of using the semaglutide Ozempic for weight loss, you’re not guaranteed results, according to Dr. Batash. “Neither Ozempic nor laxatives guarantee weight loss. Ozempic may assist some individuals in losing weight, but each body reacts in its [own] way.” Talk about weight loss myths you should stop believing.